Bunchie Young is fast. He broke a world record in the 100-yard dash at the age of nine, and he’s probably even faster now at the ripe old age of 13. And as the 2017 SI SportsKid of the Year, recipient of a scholarship offer from the University of Illinois, and budding YouTube star (his most popular video has over five million views), the only thing faster than Bunchie running down the field is his rise to fame.
All this made him the natural choice for “NEXT 100,” an NFL Super Bowl LIV commercial that features Bunchie running around the country, encountering various NFL legends, all while clutching a football with instructions from everyone to “take it to the house.”
Instead of the endzone, the house in question was Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, where Super Bowl LIV was being held. The commercial ends with Young in the tunnel next to the field before cutting to a live shot of him streaking onto the field with a group of 32 other kids, each wearing the jersey of a different NFL team, in a bunch behind him.
And while there are a ton of reasons—a ton of reasons—to be skeptical of the NFL and this commercial, it’s hard not to like Bunchie Young. He’s got a blonde coif in the style of Odell Beckham, Jr., and he seems like a genuinely nice kid.
The Sports Illustrated for Kids profile of Young mentions that he’s only really shy when people ask him about his talents, that he’s not naturally boastful. He could’ve been an exclusively track-and-field star, but he chose football because he’s a natural teammate.
“In track, you’re competing against teammates,” he says. “In football, we work together. It takes people to win. We form a bond better than the one we do in track.”
As the best player on every team he’s ever played on, Young has been presented with plenty of leadership opportunities, but he’s also sought out others. He joined the student council at his school, and he uses his Instagram account (37,000 followers and counting) to share his exploits and post inspiring messages, always in all caps.
“WANT 2 THX EVERY ONE FOR ALL OF THE KIND WORDS AND BLESSING,” one reads, “LOVE ALL YALL SO MUCH LOVE AND BLESSING FAMILY SEE U AT SUPERBOWL 54.”
We can only hope that if and when Bunchie does make it to the NFL he’s just as wholesome—and just as fast—as he was last night.